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International Journal of English Studies



Human Locomotion Verbs in English and Spanish

PAULA CIFUENTES FÉREZ* Universidad de Murcia

ABSTRACT A vast amount of research has been carried out inspired by the motion event typology established by Talmy (1985, 2000), that of, verb-framed and satellite-framed languages. However, hardly any research has been devoted to either deeply analyse motion verb lexicons or to explore manner-of-motion verb granularity between languages typologically different or similar (cf. Slobin, 2003, 2006). This paper concentrates on an important subdomain of motion, i.e., human locomotion, and examines the way Spanish and English lexicalise it in verbs. The first part of the paper focuses on the semantics of human locomotion verbs with special attention to the sort of fine-grained manner information that each language encodes. In the second part, an empirical study on how Spanish and English monolinguals categorise human locomotion verbs into three motor pattern categories (Walk – Run – Jump) is reported.

KEYWORDS: motion verbs; manner-of-motion; human locomotion; English; Spanish

*Address for correspondence: Paula Cifuentes Férez. Departamento de Filología Inglesa. Facultad de Letras. Campus de La Merced 30071, Murcia, Spain. E-mail:

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IJES, vol. 7 (1), 2007, pp. 117-136


Paula Cifuentes Férez

I. INTRODUCTION Talmy’s (1985, 2000) motion event typology of verb-framed and satellite-framed languages has inspired a vast amount of research. This typology groups languages into those two categories1 in terms of where the path of motion or ‘core’ of the event is lexicalised in the sentence. English and Spanish are prototypical examples of those two categories. On one hand, English as a satellite-framed language expresses the direction of motion or path in satellites (e.g., up, down) or in prepositional phrases (e.g., into/out of the house), leaving the verb slot free to encode manner-of-motion. On the other, Spanish as a verb-framed language typically expresses path of motion in the main verb while relegating the expression of manner to adjunts (e.g., entrar/salir corriendo ‘enter/exit by running’). It has been long observed that manner-of-motion verbs are less frequently used, and that manner information is described in much less detail in verb-framed languages (Slobin 1996, 1997, 2006). It seems that languages belonging to this typological group only allow the use of a manner verb as main verb when describing activities (cf. Vendler, 1967) or atelic motion events, that is, when the Figure does not change location or crosses a boundary (Aske, 1989; Slobin & Hoiting, 1994). However, other factors might also explain the general avoidance in the use of manner in verb-framed languages: e.g., an extra processing load (Slobin, 2004, 2006) and lexical availability (Ibarretxe-Antuñano, 2006b; Kopecka, 2006; Slobin, 2004, 2006). When a speaker of a verb-framed language wants to convey manner-ofmotion information in telic events, s/he resorts to adjunts of diverse morphosyntactic nature: adverbials, prepositional phrases, subordinate clauses, etc. Despite the availability of those lexical resources, they are not always used as they involve both a cognitive effort in the coding in the message and an extra processing load for the hearer (Slobin, 2006: 67). Thus, verb-framed languages mostly seem to express manner when it cannot be directly inferred from the context of the utterance and it is relevant for the communicative event (Papafragou, Massey & Gleitman, 2006; Pourcel & Kopecka, submitted). Slobin (1997: 459) pointed out that languages seem to have a two-level or ‘two-tiered’ lexicon of manner-of-motion verbs2: (1) a general one, or superordinate level, represented by everyday verbs such as walk, run, jump, fly, etc.; and (2) a more specific and expressive level consisting of different ways of walking, such as stroll, wander, or shuffle; different ways of running such as sprint or jog, etc. Satellite-framed languages, such as English, possess a very extensive and elaborated second level. In contrast, in verb-framed languages such as Spanish, manner-of-motion verb lexicon is not as extensive and consists mainly of general manner-ofmotion verbs. Though a definitive count has not been undertaken, Slobin (2006: 71) has recently estimated around several hundred manner-of-motion verbs for English and less than one hundred for Spanish. With a few exceptions, hardly any research has been devoted to explore manner-ofmotion verb granularity in languages typologically similar or different. Slobin (2004, 2006), using data from novels and from elicited narratives, provides interesting insights both between and within typological groups. Two works that compare and contrast languages from satellite- and verb-framed groups in terms of manner verbs are Özçalişkan’s research on English and Turkish, and Cifuentes-Férez (2006) on English and Spanish. Özçalişkan (2004:

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IJES, vol. 7 (1), 2007, pp.117-136

7 (1). She concludes. The semantics of motion A motion event is analysed as having four basic components: Figure. and Cifuentes-Férez (2006) whose data come from written and oral productions. or a reference object stationary within a reference frame. 2006). namely human locomotion. THE SEMANTICS OF ENGLISH AND SPANISH HUMAN LOCOMOTION VERBS II. Kopecka used monolingual and bilingual dictionaries as source of data. and an experimental investigation on the categorisation of those verbs into three superordinate categories (Walk. Motion and Path. for each manner category. pp. Özçalişkan (2004).Human Locomotion Verbs in English and Spanish 119 81) provides a summary table illustrating the distribution of some English and Turkish verbs by specific manner categories. All rights reserved. We begin to bridge the gap in the existing literature by examining an important subdomain of motion. injured as in limp (Spanish ‘cojear’) or hobble. vol. II. Much in the same vein. Within the satellite-framed group. Unlike Slobin (2004. Kopecka (2006) examines the sort of fine-grained semantic notions lexicalised in English and Polish walking verbs. she points out that Spanish does not have as many verbs encoding information about the Figure’s physical and psychological state as English. 2007. ways of running. A motion event can be linked to an external event (or Co-event) which usually expresses manner-of-motion. for example. relaxed as in amble or stroll (Spanish ‘pasear’). IJES. Ground.g.. e. whether the Figure is tired as in traipse. Further research on motion event typology has focussed on the manner component alone and has subdivided it into different fine-grained manner categories in attempt to capture © Servicio de Publicaciones. that English speakers used a greater variety of manner verbs than Turkish. Run and Jump). Universidad de Murcia. with respect to which the Figure’s path or site is characterized. My research into human locomotion verbs consists of two parts: a contrastive semantic analysis of English and Spanish verbs.1. Cifuentes-Férez (2006: 61) concludes that English carves up manner in a more fine-grained way than Spanish. such as ways of walking. the Ground is a reference frame. which correspond to distinct motor patterns. As Talmy (2000: 25-26) defines it: The basic Motion event consists of one object (the Figure) moving or located with respect to another object (the reference object or Ground) […] The Figure is a moving or conceptually movable object whose path or site is at issue. The Motion component “refers to the presence per se in the event of motion” and the Path is the course or trajectory followed by the Figure. This paper is an attempt to explore manner granularity in the motion verb lexicon of two typologically different languages: English and Spanish. Manner refers to the way a Figure moves which is intrinsically linked to the entity’s properties. 117-136 . etc. ways of flying.

e. e. charge. 1995. traipse. in the sentence the children frolicked into the room. Zlatev. scamper.. crawl. climb. vol. and the preposition the path of motion. Sinha & Kuteva.. stagger ‘Rate’: speed of motion. playful motion’: e.g. Furthermore. vault These manner categories are not mutually exclusive. i. drag.g. i. slow rate of motion and regular steps. the noun expresses the Figure. zoom ‘State of Figure’: physical or psychological state.2.117-136 .120 Paula Cifuentes Férez semantic differences among languages. e.g. hike. swagger ‘Length of Steps’: information about the steps the Figure takes. IJES. jog can be analysed as motor pattern-run. the verb encodes manner (motor pattern-walk. creep. Universidad de Murcia.g.g. 2003). we address the following research questions: © Servicio de Publicaciones. conflation. stroll. e.g. trek ‘No aim in motion’: no special purpose. no obstacle. limp.. fast rate) and path of motion (upwards). stride (long steps).g. scurry (small short steps) ‘Shape of Legs’: information about the Figure’s legs. frolic ‘Violent motion’: e. Özçaliskan.g. II.e. e. (2004) and Slobin (2000) have made use of the following manner categories3: ‘Motor pattern’ (mp): basic locomotive abilities Ways of walking (mp-walk) Ways of running (mp-run) Ways of jumping (mp-jump) ‘Forced motion’: motion requires an effort to be performed. playful motion). more than one semantic component is lexicalised by a single form-class as in the verb to soar expressing both manner (motor pattern-fly. these semantic components can be overtly expressed in language in a complementary or in a conflated way (cf. In the latter.g. e. In the former. e.. pp. dash ‘Unsteady motion’: unbalanced motion. roam. slide ‘Leisurely motion’: motion for pleasure. e. trip ‘Smooth motion’: motion flows. All rights reserved. e. Ibarretxe-Antuñano (2006a). totter. and so on. For example.g. crawl.g. stagger as motor pattern-walk and unsteady motion. e. e. hurry. different form-classes express different semantic components. trudge ‘Furtive motion’: hidden purpose or secretive motion. 7 (1). Research questions and methodology In this first part of the paper. g. 2007. dash.g. sneak ‘Obstructed motion’: there is some impediment or obstacle. stumble. goosestep ‘Use of Figure’s Hands’: whether the Figure’s hands are also involved in the motion. glide. For example. verbs generally denote more than one fine-grained manner feature. e. e.g. saunter ‘Joyful.

such as an infant in to toddle or an aged person in to dodder. old fashioned). and to parade. In section II. namely callejear.1. all the semantic components for motion event descriptions identified by Talmy (1985.3.3. 7 (1). 117-136 . For example.Human Locomotion Verbs in English and Spanish 121 Which general semantic components are conflated in Spanish and English human locomotion verbs? Which fine-grained manner-of-motion features are usually encoded or lexicalised? Which motor pattern category (Walk. (concretely those of Levin (1993) and SnellHornby (1983)). includes verbs conflating motion and manner-ofmotion only.2. © Servicio de Publicaciones. Conflation of motion + two other semantic components As human locomotion verbs inherently encode the motion component. and English to march. Section II. 1991. which refers to a figure’s walking around streets with no clear purpose or direction. to troop. English possesses some verbs which imply a person of certain age. thesauri and some motion verb lists available for English. For the analysis. along a road or promenade (to promenade.3. mountains or forests (to trek).1. Results Verbs from both languages were grouped in terms of the semantic components they expressed. special attention to fine-grained manner categories is given. GROUND + MANNER-OF-MOTION English seems to have a larger number of verbs implying certain grounds together with manner-of-motion: relaxed or leisurely walking in the countryside (to hike. In our Spanish set of verbs. pp. whose figures are a group of people walking with regular steps. 2007.e. vol. both of them walking unsteadily. we deliberately avoided its constant repetition throughout the analysis of our verbs. over hills. IJES. we found only one denominal verb categorised as walking verb. Unlike Spanish. greater variety of verbs)? In order to answer those questions. Spanish desfilar (in the sense of soldiers walking in line).3.. to ramble). 2000) as well as the fine-grained manner categories proposed by Ibarretxe-Antuñano (2006). motion verbs that conflate motion and other two semantic components are classified. we carried out a semantic analysis of 56 Spanish and 110 English human locomotion verbs taken from monolingual dictionaries.. II. All rights reserved. Run or Jump) exhibits finer manner distinctions (i. Universidad de Murcia. FIGURE + MANNER-OF-MOTION Both in Spanish and English we come across some verbs conflating information about the figure and about manner-of-motion. II. Özçaliskan (2004) and Slobin (2000) were taken into account.

i. In our English set of verbs. Path (back) + Manner (mp-walk). IJES. 2007. Path (around the Ground) + Manner (mp-walk): those semantic features are encoded in verbs such as Spanish recorrer and rondar (in the sense of walking around a place). we will deal with seemingly language-specific manner details.3. especially to escape from something” [LLA: 1008]. e. These three categories refer to basic human motor patterns. All rights reserved. ± Steps). Furthermore. in a military setting) and desandar (to walk back. and English to rove. ± Violent motion). © Servicio de Publicaciones.. Universidad de Murcia. to scuttle and to scurry meaning “to run with short quick steps. English has verbs which also lexicalise details about the steps the figure takes when running away. Once we have dealt with the types of conflations of general motion components found in our corpus of English and Spanish human motion verbs. following the same way). which usually refers to walking over a large area. Path (after the Ground) + Manner (mp-walk. Rate-fast.117-136 . Furtive motion): both languages can conflate those semantic features in verbs such as rastrear. which also encodes a violent manner of motion. Within each motor pattern. huir. Furtive motion. pp. to slink in English. Path (towards the Ground) + Manner (mp-run. 7 (1). vol. we will firstly describe the sort of fine-grained manner details which can be expressed both in English and Spanish verbs. II.122 Paula Cifuentes Férez PATH + MANNER-OF-MOTION Both the English and the Spanish lexicon have verbs encoding the direction of motion in addition to some sort of manner information: Path (away from the Ground) + Manner (mp-walk or mp-run. acechar meaning to track or to stalk4 in English. abalanzarse and lanzarse (to hurl oneself towards X in a violent way) and English to charge.e. We find two verbs in Spanish which are rarely used in everyday language: contramarchar (to march back. meaning to flee. we narrow down our focus to verbs which express finer manner-of-motion distinctions. manner information which seems to be lexicalised only in one language. then the ones which are more often exploited in any of the two languages and. such as the Spanish verbs fugarse. running verbs and jumping verbs.2.g. we did not find any verb expressing backward motion while walking. These semantic features are conflated into verbs such as Spanish precipitarse (to run towards X).. Fine-grained manner-of-motion We present our analysis of manner-of-motion verbs in three blocks: walking verbs. Both languages possess some verbs denoting furtive motion away from the ground. finally.

English human locomotion verb lexicon is much more varied. As we saw in the previous section.Human Locomotion Verbs in English and Spanish 123 MOTOR PATTERN . to move trying not to be noticed) together with direction or path as in acechar (meaning to track or to stalk after something or © Servicio de Publicaciones. o Heavy steps: to plod which also denotes forced motion and slow rate.e. we found the following ones: No aim in motion: Spanish ambular.WALK We find out greater verb granularity concerning ways of walking than ways of running or jumping. and to shamble. small steps’) in Spanish. This seems to be quite an obvious finding as walking is the default way of human locomotion. Besides to shuffle and to shamble provide more information: the Figure does not lift his or her feet from the ground. merodear. to stomp. which are equivalents to English to limp and to hobble denote that the figure’s feet or legs are injured or in pain. Forced motion. The Spanish verbs renquear and cojear.. English and Spanish have a larger number of verbs specifying different ways of walking. English to roam. to meander. 7 (1). Shape of the legs: zanquear (‘to walk bowlegged’) Use of the Figure’s hands to walk on all fours: Spanish gatear and its English equivalent to crawl. Spanish tends to encode the finegrained manner detail of furtive motion (i. All rights reserved. to trample. and to stride.e. i. errar. Furtive motion and Psychological state of the Figure. English has some verbs denoting the bigger effort a Figure makes to be able to walk. Information about Steps. to lumber. IJES. Unsteady motion: as in Spanish tambalearse and its English counterparts to stagger and to totter. pp. Among the specific manner details that can be expressed in both verb lexicons. such as to shuffle.. vol. to wander. Legs or Hands: Steps the Figure takes: o Small steps: anadear (‘to waddle.…. it has more verbs than the Spanish one in terms of the following manner categories: Forced motion. to clump. Furtive motion. deambular. 117-136 . Physical State of the Figure. to trudge. to inch and to edge in English. vagar. Universidad de Murcia. 2007. o Large steps: zancajear (‘to walk with large steps’). to tramp.

to whiz. to stalk Tiredness or boredom: to traipse Angry attitude: to march. vol. Furthermore. we came across a couple of interesting verbs (though very infrequent). to amble. to bolt. DRAE]. also in the Spanish verb lexicon. taconear (‘to walk tapping one’s heels’) and chancletear (‘to walk tapping one’s flip-flops’). These verbs are deeply rooted in Spanish culture: flamenco dancers (wearing heels) tapping on the floor or tablaos flamencos. Psychological state of the Figure. 7 (1). IJES. English. to prowl. such as acelerar (‘to speed up’). which also encodes leisurely or playful motion. or a faster rate than walking. For example. this verb means to walk swaying one’s hips in a showing off fashion [DUE. In our list of Spanish human locomotion verbs. such as noctambular (‘to walk at night with no specific aim’ [DUE. we found out some cross-linguistic differences: English running verbs outnumber Spanish ones. English running verbs include a large amount of verbs denoting fast rate or speed: to sprint. In sum. to streak.117-136 . has a number of verbs which encode only furtive motion. to dash. to creep. cultural aspects might explain why English does not seem to exploit this kind of information in their human motion verb lexicon. to sneak. to speed. to dart. Spanish women’s habit of wearing high heels. All rights reserved. Universidad de Murcia. One of the peculiarities of the Spanish motion verb lexicon is the existence of verbs denoting a noisy way of walking related to the sort of shoes a person is wearing: zapatear (‘to walk tapping shoes’). especially at the beach or swimming pool. For instance. to tiptoe (to walk on your toes). Contrary to Spanish. etc. MOTOR PATTERN – RUN Both languages seem to have less running verbs than walking verbs. frequent use of flip-flops during the long Spanish summer. to stomp Relaxed activity5: to mosey. aligerar and apresurarse (‘to hurry up’). to saunter. to race. as in corretear (‘to scamper’). a decrease in speed as in desacelerar (‘to speed down’). However. they simply encode an increase in speed. to zoom. to hurry. Finally. we just picked up one verb encoding the figure’s mental state: contonearse. though having some verbs conflating furtive motion and path. DRAE]) and zaparrastrar (it refers to the dragging of clothes while a person is walking). 2007.124 Paula Cifuentes Férez someone). there are some verbs which encode some other fine-grained manner features: Rate-fast + Violent motion: to hurtle Rate-slow and regular: to jog Rate-fast + Steps-short/small steps: to scurry In contrast. English has a large number of verbs denoting different mental states: Proud attitude: to strut. © Servicio de Publicaciones. It seems that English does not have any verb lexicalising that sort of manner information. Spanish has few running verbs. pp. and to sidle.

less specific level) and can be used in roughly the same contexts where English would distinguish among to vault. manner or fashion) or verb hyponymy is the most common semantic relation among verbs. both cross-linguistic similarities and differences between the semantics of English and Spanish human locomotion verbs have been discussed. to leap (to make a large jump from one place to another) and to skip (to move along with a little jump between steps). 117-136 .. pp. We will further address this issue in the second part of the paper. to hop (to jump on one leg). In this paper. taconear and zapatear). state that troponymy (from Greek topos. though the latter is a rather infrequent verb. All rights reserved. Cruse (1989) remarks that the diagnostic question for noun taxonomies Is X a kind/type of Y? does not work for verbs as well as it does for nouns. there are a greater number of English verbs encoding information about the speed of motion. concretely. 2007. belong to a more schematic. Universidad de Murcia. A well-formed taxonomy offers an orderly set of categories at different levels of specificity (Cruse. IJES. Unlike English. In English.e. whereas the question Is verb X-ing a way of verb Y-ing? seems to be more appropriate for verbs. we came across four jumping verbs: to vault (to jump using your hands or a pole). i. the effort involved in it and even the figure’s psychological state. 7 (1).e. After our semantic analysis. though certain kinds of semantic information seems to be much more often exploited in one language than in the other. Many © Servicio de Publicaciones.e. i. and even about the day time when the motion takes place (noctambular).1. into how they seem to be organised and what kinds of semantic relations hold among their members. In contrast. II. Miller and Fellbaum (1991: 216-220)... much on the same line. vol. 2004) and Miller and Fellbaum (1991) provided some interesting insights into verb taxonomies. 2004: 175-176). Conclusion In this section. III. Spanish verbs lexicalise information about the figure’s noisy way of walking while wearing some kinds of shoes (chancletear.Human Locomotion Verbs in English and Spanish 125 MOTOR PATTERN – JUMP Both English and Spanish verb lexicons are less elaborated or varied with respect to this motor pattern. for example.4. That is the case of English which makes finer manner distinctions than Spanish. Cruse (1989. we are also interested in finding out which human motor pattern presents finer lexical distinctions. has a wider variety of verbs. These verbs are rather general in meaning (i. to hop. CATEGORISATION OF HUMAN LOCOMOTION VERBS III. Verb taxonomies Taxonomic hierarchies are classificatory systems that reflect the way speakers categorise the world of experience. to leap and to skip. We found out that both Spanish and English lexicalise the same kind of general semantic information. we can conclude that both languages follow the same tendency: there are many more walking verbs than running verbs and jumping verbs. Spanish does not capture those fine-grained manner differences in their lexicon and has just two jumping verbs: saltar and brincar.

the Walk category has greater number of fine-grained manner verbs than the Run and the Jump category? Furthermore. Method III. All rights reserved.. only to walk and to run are taxonyms of to move.126 Paula Cifuentes Férez verbs indicate more precisely the manner of doing something. only a subset of them are taxonyms of it. both troponymic (i.1. However. For example.2. Subjects 18 adult native English speakers and 18 adult native Spanish speakers volunteered or were paid for the participation. Saltar).3. In sum. amble. Universidad de Murcia. IJES.. Both notions are extremely difficult to tell apart. Thus. English participants were students at the University of Sussex (UK). just as hyponymy is quite common among verbs. Whereas many verbs can be troponyms of a superordinate verb.117-136 . in English and Spanish verb lexicons. they are ways of walking. 2007. and mosey are troponyms of to walk. a verb X is a kind of verb Y) are to be distinguished when exploring the nature of verb lexicons. III. that is. we are interested in how English and Spanish native speakers categorise human locomotion verbs in terms of three superordinate categories: Walk (Spanish Andar). according to Cruse. In Cruse’s own words (1989: 138): “verbs generally seem to show hierarchical structuring to a more limited extent than nouns. a verb X is a way of verb Y) and taxonomic relations (i. strut. Research questions In this experimental study. traipse. Although hyponymy is quite common among verbs. All participants ranged from 18 to 30 years of age. which refer to basic motor pattern. taxonomy also occurs. as a secondary aim we want to test which question type (the way-of or the kind-of question) seems to be more useful when categorising verbs. though troponymy (or verb hyponymy) seems to be the most frequent semantic relation. to travel. © Servicio de Publicaciones. Spanish speakers were students at the Universidad de Murcia (Spain). pp. too”. they all are ways of moving. for example. a troponym is not the same as a taxonym. to walk or to run are troponyms of to move. Run (Sp.e. mutually inclusive or temporally co-extensive. This experiment aims at providing psycholinguistic validation to our previous findings: Is it truly the case that. a relation paralleling nominal taxonomy occurs. the research questions addressed to this respect are: Is there any effect of the question type on participants’ judgements? Is there any interaction between question type and language? III.3.e. however. vol. Correr) and Jump (Sp. march. 7 (1).

III.2. each block consisted of questions and rating scales for each human locomotion verb with respect to one of the superordinate categories (Walk or Run or Jump). Results Two ANOVAs. 56 verbs x 3 blocks. Each booklet was divided into 3 blocks. defined as the score (in millimeters) a participant gave to a particular verb with regard to a superordinate verb (either Walk. All rights reserved. This scale was 102 millimeters long. and the superordinate verb was a within variable. were carried out. III. Universidad de Murcia. 7 (1). pp. and ‘¿Es X un tipo de Y?’ or ‘¿Es X una manera de Y?’ for the Spanish version. The questions were one of the following two throughout the booklet: ‘Is X-ing a kind of Y-ing?’ or ‘Is X-ing a way of Y-ing?’ for the English version.3. We created booklets for each language group. For the English version. question (kind of. Jump). Spanish). There were three independent variables: language (English. the higher score a verb got. each booklet contained 330 questions in total. They were run in a quiet room and no time limit was given. The instructions were given on the first page of the booklet. IJES. Run. 110 human locomotion verbs for English and 56 human locomotion verbs for Spanish. one treating participants as the random effect and the other treating items as the random effect. that is. Procedure Participants were given the booklets and told to answer all the questions by marking an X on any point in a scale. Each question was followed by a rating scale ranging from ‘Definitely a kind/way’ – ‘Not sure a kind/way’ – ‘Definitely not a kind/way’. They were told not to skip any question or look ahead in the booklet. Participant analysis yielded no statistically significant © Servicio de Publicaciones. that is.3. way of) and superordinate verb (Walk. The dependent variable was the goodness of a verb as a member of a superordinate verb.4. The instructions were also given in written form on the first page of the booklet.Human Locomotion Verbs in English and Spanish 127 III. Design This study used a mixed design. 117-136 . 2007. It ranged from ‘Definitely a kind/way of’ on the left (score 0) to ‘Not sure a kind/way of’ to ‘Definitely not a kind/way of’ on the right (score 102). Stimuli Our stimuli were the same used in the semantic analysis (section II). The language and question variables were between-subject variables.3. the better example of a superordinate category was. that is. We flipped the scores for clarity reasons: 0 meaning ‘Definitely not a kind/way of’ and 102 meaning ‘Definitely a kind/way of’. Half the subjects received the kind-of question and the other half the way-of question.3. Thus. The Spanish version consisted of 168 questions in total. 110 verbs x 3 blocks (Walk-Run-Jump).4. III. Run or Jump) by marking an X on a rating scale. vol. Both the questions and the blocks within each booklet were randomised across subjects to avoid order effects.

p < . 164) = 4. SE = 1.56). p < . SE = 1. Universidad de Murcia. Overall analysis A 2 (Language: English. F(1. p < . in which all factors varied within-items revealed three significant main effects and three interactions. SE = .67.69). SE = 1.15).1. On average.05. Item analysis is reported here instead.4.03). Spanish) by 2 (Question: kind of. This means that both language groups differed in their ratings irrespectively of question type and superordinate verb. indicating that English and Spanish participants differed in their ratings in terms of the question type. Superordinate verb effect in English and Spanish The analysis revealed that the question type had a significant effect on the ratings. 328) = 94. way of) by 3 (Superordinate verb: Walk. F(1. the way-of question was rated higher (M = 39. p < .95) and to Jump (M = 21. 7 (1). III.05. The main effect of language on acceptability ratings was significant.67. SE = 1.05. On average.61) than for the kind of question (M = 32.99) than the kind-of question (M = 37.05 level. verbs were rated higher with respect to Walk (M = 57. IJES. The interaction between language and question reached high significance. SE = 1. Jump) Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). F (1. SE = 1. SE = 1. 164) = 9.78.81) than to Run (M = 37. 164) = 81.12) than Spanish human locomotion verbs (M = than for the way-of question (M = 38.03.38. English participants gave higher ratings for the kind-of question (M = 42.70.57).38.128 Paula Cifuentes Férez results because of the limited number of participants. vol. The effect of superordinate verb on acceptability ratings was also significant.76. All reported effects were significant at the p < . SE = 1.70. 2007.26. All rights reserved. English human locomotion verbs got higher acceptability ratings (M = 40.117-136 .90. F(2. © Servicio de Publicaciones. Run. Further analyses of only English participants and only Spanish participants were conducted to assess this effect on each language group.56.56. SE = 1. 70 60 50 RATING 40 30 20 10 0 walk run VERB jump ENGLISH SPANISH Figure 1. SE = 1.62. Spanish participants gave higher ratings for the way-of question (M = 40. pp.

05 ).05.05. The results also showed that the type of question asked had a significant effect on the acceptability ratings.74.04. Universidad de Murcia.87.08) 70 60 50 RATING 40 30 20 10 0 walk run VERB jump way-of kind-of Figure 3. All rights reserved.2. F (2. 2007. The kind-of questions were rated higher (M = 42. SE = 1. vol.62. 109) = 28. p > . p < . This analysis also revealed a main effect of superordinate verb.89. SE = 2. p < . Three t-test showed that the ratings differed significantly between the superordinate verbs Walk and Run (t (109) = 4. English data: effects of the question type and of superordinate verb © Servicio de Publicaciones.4.18) than to Run (M = 39. Human locomotion verbs were rated higher with regard to Walk (M = 57.24) than to Jump (M = 24. SE = 1. in which the two factors varied within-items revealed two main effects (Figure 3 is included below for the ease of illustration).05).Human Locomotion Verbs in English and Spanish 129 50 45 40 35 RATING 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 way of QUESTION kind of English Spanish Figure 2. Run. 117-136 . 218) = 52. IJES. pp. 7 (1). SE = 1. and Run and Jump (t(109) = 5.09) than the way-of questions (M = 38.78.84). Walk and Jump (t(109) = 10. Interaction between language and question III. way of) by 3 (Superordinate verb: Walk.05). p < . English Results A 2 (Question: kind of. SE = 2. Jump) ANOVA. p > . F(1.

p > . Human locomotion verbs were rated higher with regard to Walk (M = 57. 55) = 48. Spanish results A 2 (Question: kind of.45. then to Run. In spite of this language effect. Run. These results can be interpreted as if the category Walk includes the greatest number of human locomotion verbs.24) than to Jump (M = 18. SE = 3. 2007.56. p > . © Servicio de Publicaciones.130 Paula Cifuentes Férez III. SE = 1. people might run to catch the bus or metro.8) than the kind-of questions (M = 32. in which question and superordinate verb varied within-items revealed significant effects of question and of superordinate verb. namely. SE = 2.5. This might be explained by the fact that walking is the default way of moving for humans.07. Jump) ANOVA. All rights reserved.05). pp.3. whereas Run comprises fewer verbs than Walk.05 ). p < . Furthermore.40.45).63. There was a main effect of superordinate verb. English human locomotion verbs got higher ratings than Spanish human locomotion verbs. but they most of the time walk from a place to another. the results showed that the type of question asked had a significant effect on the acceptability ratings.2. way of) by 3 (Superordinate verb: Walk.02. walking is a more basic daily activity than jumping or running. Walk and Jump (t(55) = 11. Discussion and conclusion In the overall analysis. Spanish data: effects of the question type and of superordinate verb III. SE = 2. or jump over an obstacle. our results showed a main effect of language on acceptability ratings. Universidad de Murcia. p < .05. both languages showed a similar pattern when rating verbs in terms of the three superordinate categories: human locomotion verbs received the highest ratings with respect to Walk.05. F (2. Figure 4 is included here for the ease of illustration. and Jump is the category with less verbs.4. SE = 1. Three t-test showed that the ratings differed significantly between the superordinate verbs Walk and Run (t (55) = 5.89) than to Run (M = 34. vol.05). and Run and Jump (t(55) = 4. and the lowest ones with respect to Jump.98) 70 60 50 RATING 40 30 20 10 0 walk run VERB jump way-of kind-of Figure 4. The way-of questions were rated higher (M = 40. 110) = 53. p < .12.79. IJES. F(1.87. 7 (1).117-136 .

117-136 . vol. Among the similarities between English and Spanish. though it seems that Spanish human locomotion verb lexicon responds better to troponymic relations than to taxonymic relations. If we look at Figure 2. it was pointed out that both languages followed the same tendency: greater variety of walking verbs over running and jumping verbs. as troponymy is the most frequent semantic relation among verbs. CONCLUDING REMARKS In the first part of the paper. On the whole. IV. whereas English participants gave higher ratings for the kind-of question. and (b) the nature of the English and the Spanish motion verb lexicon. The other plausible explanation might be sought in the nature of English and Spanish motion verb lexicon. Spanish participants gave higher ratings for the way-of question than for the kind-of question. 2007. However. and the kind-of question does it for taxonomic relations. it cannot be concluded that there are not taxonomic relations in that part of the lexicon. This finding was further attested by the experimental investigation reported in the second part of the paper. our results remain inconclusive with regard to which type of question is most suitable for verbs. Going back to Cruse (1989. and English ratings for kind-of were higher than those for way-of. Thus. in other words. we also posed the question of whether there are any effects of the question type on participant’s ratings. We propose two plausible explanations: (a) the wording of the kind-of question in Spanish. we were inclined to predict that the way-of question would work better. our research suggests that human locomotion verbs refer mainly to ways or kinds of walking. than the kind-of question. And the reverse is true for Spanish.Human Locomotion Verbs in English and Spanish 131 At the beginning of this study. whether one question works better than the other when ratings verbs with respect to superordinate verb categories. our results confirmed our predictions only partially. All rights reserved. 2004) and Miller & Fellbaum (1991). However. pp. IJES. The question we need to address now is why both languages differed dramatically on the kind-of question. the wording of the kind-of question in Spanish might have been responsible for Spanish participants favouring the way-of question instead. Following Cruse (1989. i. Universidad de Murcia. our results suggest English human locomotion verb lexicon is well suited for taxonomic relations as the kind-of question got higher ratings than the way-of question. Since the way-of question asks for troponymy. both cross-linguistic similarities and differences in the semantics of English and Spanish human locomotion verbs were described. we could hypothesise that the English motion verb lexicon might respond better to taxonomic or hierarchical relations than Spanish motion verb lexicon. it can be observed that verbs from both languages got similar ratings for the way-of question. One of our Spanish participants remarked that the question ¿Es X un tipo de Y? sounded quite odd to her. Although English carves up the domain of manner in a more fine© Servicio de Publicaciones. Therefore. On average. 2004) and Miller & Fellbaum (1991). higher ratings.. but differed significantly in the rating when the kind-of question was used: Spanish ratings for kind-of were much lower than those for the way-of question.e. 7 (1). our English results cannot be taken to deny the existence of troponymic relations among those verbs.

Finally. Universidad de Murcia. called Production Method or Free Listing. ‘non-human locomotion’. With respect to the issue of manner granularity in English and Spanish. taking a full list of verbs and give them to participants so they rate or categorize them. might be easier and quicker for participants to do as they are not given hundreds of verbs to rate in terms of different categories. pp. running or jumping. Walk) than for narrower ones (e. Freedman & Loftus. Categorisation research during the 70s (cf. This could be tested by using at least two methodologies: (a) the one we followed in this paper. Berthele. In the same way as we examined what sort of manner information is expressed in motion verbs. Thus. FUTURE DIRECTIONS Our research has provided evidence for higher manner granularity of walking verbs in both English and Spanish. 7 (1). Furthermore.e. people might run or jump sometimes during the day.I Grant for project BFF2003-07300 from the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science.g. This second methodology.117-136 . 1973. for example. but most of the time they walk from a place to another. as shown in the first part of the paper. The reason might be that walking is a more basic daily activity. path of motion on its own can be of special research interest. © Servicio de Publicaciones. ‘motion by using a vehicle’. Wälchli. Rosch.. Run). participants would list more items for wider categories (e. Acknowledgements This research was sponsored by a F. It would be interesting to explore a vast amount of other languages to test our hypothesis on higher manner granularity of the Walk category over Run and Jump. Therefore. Battig & Montague.. 2007. it was found out that (a) the items which were listed first are more entrenched and more frequently used than the ones listed later or even no listed at all. other subdomains of motion should be considered. 1969.. and (b) the mean number of listed items is correlated with the total number of items in the category. a careful analysis of the kinds of paths which can be lexicalised in English and Spanish motion verbs could be also carried out (cf. 2001). 1975) showed that participants list the best examples or prototypical members of a category in the first place. vol. both languages seems to organise their motion verb lexicon in a similar way: putting more eggs into the Walk basket than into any other way of human locomotion. it could be hypothesised that most of the world’s languages are more likely to posses a more extensive manner verb lexicon for walking activities than for running or jumping activities.132 Paula Cifuentes Férez grained way than Spanish. IJES. 1971. All rights reserved. i.g. but they would be told to list verbs during 1 minute time-limit. ‘motion in water’ and ‘motion on air’. 2004. It might not always be the case that English has a richer manner lexicon than Spanish for an specific subdomain of motion.P. V. or/and (b) by asking participants to list verbs of walking.

which does not encode any kind of path information but just manner-of-motion. at the second level). Slobin. & Montague. various scholars (e.. I also want to express my gratitude to the reviewers for their helpful comments on an earlier version of this paper. © Servicio de Publicaciones.e. etc. [DUE. IJES. see Slobin (2004: 249). For a detailed explanation. applied to human beings. etc. (Monograph). ‘Violent motion’. 2004) have proposed a third category: equipollently-framed languages. usually in order to catch or kill them”. if a small animal (such as a rabbit). etc. J. from the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics. All rights reserved. pp. W. DRAE]) also encodes this kind of information. grin. Zlatev & Yangklang. A few of them (‘Joyful. playful motion’. for their careful supervision and guidance through all the steps in the experimental part. Battig. Universidad de Murcia. [CALD] 5 6 4 3 2 1 The Spanish verb pasear (to walk in a relaxed way. verbs of hearing. smirk. languages that express path and manner by equivalent grammatical forms. denotes “to jump on one foot or to move about in this way” [CALD]. 7 (1). at the specific level). “it moves by jumping on all or two of its feet at the same time” [CALD]. gape. W. To hop. NOTES In order to account for a large amount of other languages which do not nicely fit in this binary typology. (1969).. Category norms for verbal items in 56 categories: A replication and extension of the Conneticut category norms. verbs of laughing or smiling (with guffaw. Only the manner categories relevant for the description of human locomotion are listed here. however. bird or insect hops. ‘Length of Steps’. This does not seem to be only specific of motion verbs but also of verbs from other semantic fields.Human Locomotion Verbs in English and Spanish 133 I am indebted to Asifa Majid and Anetta Kopecka. 117-136 . 2004. i. and (2) “to walk in an angry or proud way”. 15. (1989) Path predicates in English and Spanish: a closer look. 2007. Journal of Experimental Psychology. vol. 1994.g. To stalk has two meanings: (1) “to follow an animal or person as closely as possible without being seen or heard. However. ‘Shape of Legs’ and ‘Use of the Figure’s Hands’) are additions made by the author of this paper. 1-14. such as verbs of seeing (with see and look at the superordinate level and stare. verbs of saying. gaze. Proceedings of the Berkeley Linguistics Society. glance. Slobin & Hoiting. research is needed to test whether languages have these two levels for most semantic fields or just for some of them. REFERENCES Aske.

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